Driving the Innovation Cycle

Whether you are in an IT organization or a professional golfer looking for a new putter, data is crucial in the design of a new product and its continuing evolution.

Naomi Lariviere, Chief Product Owner, ADP

July 9, 2024

4 Min Read
Danielle Kang
Danielle Kang Imaginechina Limited via Alamy Stock

Every day, data is used to better understand and predict behavior and often holds the answer as to whether something needs improving. To design a good product, for example, businesses must be proactive, anticipate what the customer needs and find a solution. It’s a cycle of learning what interrupts the product user’s daily work and then utilizing that knowledge to design and continuously improve the product.  

This process doesn’t just apply within the walls of a tech organization, either. It’s the natural cycle of innovation wherever great ideas are happening, and performance is improving. I had the chance to connect with LPGA professional golfer Danielle Kang, and it’s a cycle she herself has put into play on the green.  

Kang measures her game every day and not just with the typical golf statistics like total score, fairways hit, scrambling and putts per hole. She and her coach cull both machine and human data, whether they’re working on her driver spin or her stamina. 

“I write down how I feel physically too, like at what point in the course or tournament I felt tired or hungry,” shared Kang. “I share that data with my nutritionist and my fitness trainer, and we make changes in what I eat and how I work out.” 

Combined, these data points offer a holistic view that helps drive performance. They make a difference in how she approaches her next game. 

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Design With Data and Insights

Kang’s putting average was ranked 2nd among all LPGA players last year and that’s not by chance. “While I’ve always been good at putting, putters can be tricky and temperamental,” she explains. “I wanted to create a putter that would be consistent and stable.” Kang worked with Scotty Cameron, famous putter designer, to craft one tailored to Kang; the way her arms hang, the way her hands set, even how she sees.  

It’s a prime example of how data leads to better design. Kang saw the problem, worked intensely with Cameron, iterated, and in the end got a putter that has significantly improved her game. 

It’s the same type of cycle technologists employ. For instance, at ADP, we’re constantly looking at data signals or changes in client behaviors to improve our solutions. We think about our clients’ pain points, sketch those out, and then we iterate along the journey in bringing those innovations to market.  

Good product design begins with good data. To truly solve a need, you have to first understand it from all angles and all perspectives. Only with a comprehensive view can you find the most effective solution. Putting mechanisms in place to surface insights is key to understanding customer behavior, solving customer needs, and continually improving the product. This is the formula for responsive product design whether you are in business or professional golf. 

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For example, in the HR space, when organizations are posting an open position, they need a job description. It’s often a painstaking process with duplicative efforts, with different versions of the same job existing across multiple teams and departments. We asked our client impact council to weigh in on the validity and extent of the problem, to first align on whether a solution was warranted. Then as we developed the product, we gathered feedback that informed iterations and made sure the solution fit in the flow of work. We then piloted the product with ADP’s own HR practitioners before offering it to our clients through our client-zero program. 

The size and complexity of ADP provides this unique design opportunity to test ideas, validate hypotheses and refine solutions before we bring them to the market. This program forges a direct connection between our internal HR practitioners and our technologists. Because we use our products first internally, we consider ourselves “client zero.” By bringing the client close to the development process, we can capture valuable feedback and keep enhancing tools over time with the client's input. 

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Drive Performance Through the Feedback Loop

Innovating with insights in hand can help create solutions that drive performance in an impactful way. However, continued measurement is essential in ensuring performance continues to elevate. After releasing a product, it’s important to watch how clients and customers are using it. How often, how long, and for what are they using it? Keep track of client satisfaction scores and comments from users, too. This data enables developers to fine tune their products and make them even more responsive as needs evolve. 

Danielle Kang would agree that having the data isn’t enough; it’s what you do with it that makes a difference in performance. Companies have a lot of data these days. The key is integrating it into your innovation cycle to drive insightful product design and solve users’ problems in the most effective way possible.  

About the Author(s)

Naomi Lariviere

Chief Product Owner, ADP

As Chief Product Owner, Vice President of Product Management – Shared Services at ADP, Naomi Lariviere oversees a vast portfolio of products covering Payroll, Talent, ADP Assist, MyADP & ADP Mobile, Access & Identity Management, Layer3 and AEGIS.

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